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HOBBY: Painting White – Retribution Style

3 Minute Read
Jun 30 2011
A guest article by Nick.

When I bought my Retribution of Scyrah army I had no idea how to paint white. My past attempts had always turned out poorly. Simply painting black, grey, and white layers on a mini left a muddy mess. After some research followed by a bit of trial and error I’ve become comfortable with the color.

This technique is aimed at painting a matte-finish white, quickly. My mantra is “nice looking paintjobs as fast as possible.” I want primer to do most of the work wherever possible and what follows is a great example.

If you have never used mixing medium I would strongly encourage you to do so. Do you enjoy Citadel washes? Then start making your own.

The model I will be painting for this tutorial is the Arcantrik Force Generator, polarizing among the community both due to its space tick aesthetic and perceived effectiveness. I will say that it is more impressive in person than on screen. With respect to its value on the board, it’s too early to know…


  1. Start by priming the model white, get good coverage. With a mini this expensive I like to prime a smaller, less important one first. Just make sure that the weather isn’t too muggy. It is especially important for us here because the primer will still be visible in some areas when the model is finished.
  2. Add a few drops of mixing medium to a small amount of water, then add some pigment to dye the wash. I’m using Underbelly Blue. The resulting mixture should search for crevices thanks to the mixing medium. Experiment with different ratios until you find something that works for you. Apply to the cracks, low-points, and shadow areas of the model. Be careful not to apply standing puddles. Instead, return for a second coat for the deepest recesses. Avoid 60% of the white surface area altogether.
  3. When the first step is completely dry, highlight the model with pure white paint out of the pot. If your paint is old and muddy, add some water. I know this is elementary stuff, but it’s vital you don’t get splotchy here. Get coverage on only the highest peaks of the model, leaving some primer between this step and the last.
At this point the mini doesn’t look stunning. The problem is there is nothing for the white to “pop” off of. Be brave, power through the rest of the model. Carefully detail and base it, all the while preserving your eggshell finish.
Basecoat any non white surfaces with an opaque dark color. It goes a long way to helping the white stand out.
The AFG I painted here was 90% white. Though I would still recommend you try this technique when your color palatte asks for less.
What are your tips and tricks for painting models with a mainly white palette?

Ben Williams
Author: Ben Williams
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